Community Outreach 2020-21

2021 Recognition to College-bound Seniors from Miller High School

On Friday, May 14, 2021, members of the AAUW Corpus Christi Branch honored 20 Miller High School senior girls for their achievement and drive for excellence, overcoming immense obstacles that 2020 and the pandemic posed for students and teachers.

Ms. Kelly Gonzalez, chairperson of the Community Outreach Committee, collaborated with Miller High School counselor, Ms. Nelda García, to organize a celebration that recognized the girls, who have been accepted by local and state colleges and universities for fall enrollment.

Seated: Miller High School Assistant Principal Monica Cano; AAUW member and speaker, Diana Cardenas; AAUW Branch President, Shirley Selz; and Miller High School Counselor Nelda Garcia. Standing: 19 of the 20 honorees.

Ms. Shirley Selz, AAUW president, who presided over the gathering, congratulated the senior girls for their abilities and perseverance and praised their commitment to their goals.

AAUW member, Diana Torres Cardenas, served as speaker. Ms. Cardenas, a retired TAMUCC English professor, described her development as a speaker and writer of the English language. A naturalized citizen, originally from Monterrey, Mexico, she noted the obstacles as a new resident in our city and lauded the contributions of her CCISD teachers and professors at Texas universities for her academic achievements and motivation to pursue a lifetime (40 years) of college and university teaching.

Professor Cardenas encouraged the girls to enhance their writing skills, engage their coursework, interact with professors, and identify academic resources and tools.

Miller High School honoree Jimena Zamora

Shirley Selz, a practicing attorney for 40 years, stressed the critical importance of effective writing in professional workplaces. As an example, she noted the consequential writing of TAMUCC students enrolled in a Forensics class. As future forensic analysts, their writing will become part of legal documents in court.

The mission of AAUW is to advance gender equity for girls and women through education, philanthropy, and advocacy. Its members hope to serve as role models and champion individual potential.

During the girls’ high school years, Counselor Nelda García and Assistant Principal Monica Cano served as role models. Miller High School Principal, Dr. Bruce Wilson, encourages collaborations that benefit students.

Counselor Nelda Garcia sent a beautiful letter of appreciation to the Branch for our continued practice of recognizing and honoring college-bound graduating female seniors at Miller High School. You can access the KAJA Telemundo TV station coverage of the event here.

Story by Dr. Diana Cardenas, photos by Nelda Garcia


2020 Holiday Shopping for YWTeens

The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch has an annual tradition of spreading some holiday cheer by sponsoring a “Holiday Shopping Spree” for the YWCA YWTeens program. This event is structured to provide five holiday gifts that the ten-to-twelve-year-old girls in the YWTeen program can give to their family members. The year 2020 was hit hard with COVID-19 restrictions, but our Branch managed to host a modified holiday event.

On December 13, 2020, packages with five gifts each for the girls’ family members were assembled and distributed to the 25 girls in the program this year. Branch member Dottie Ewing was our Santa shopper, purchasing the gift items with Branch funds. Branch members Vickie Natale and Kelly Gonzalez donated the 125 holiday bags used for the individual gift items. As an added treat this year, Branch members Catherine Cox and Alice Berecka made and donated individual bracelets for each girl as a personal gift. We had additional assistance from the YWCA team who assembled the packages and distributed them to the girls as their families drove into the parking lot. We thank the YWCA staff “elves” for their extra help this year – it would have been hard to complete the project without them!

YWCA staff members assembled packages for the YW Teens.

Bracelets made by Catherine Cox and Alice Berecka

Delivery of packages, 2020-style